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Iconic Packard Plant Bridge Collapse Ruins Historic Landmark

Updated: Thanks to a tip from contributor Benjamin Ames we have learned that after bricks began to fall off the important signature structure yesterday on Wednesday January 23, 2019 the Packard Plant Bridge, built in 1939 was completely destroyed later in the afternoon just after four PM when the center two-thirds of the landmark crumbled and crashed to the ground on Grand Boulevard.

The lead photo above via Arte Express the owner of much of the Plant complex shows the bridge after it was wrapped in a likeness of itself several years ago. The photo below after the videos shows half of the span pictured in 1954.

You can view our series of twelve earlier posts covering the effort by Arte Express to clean up and stabilize some of the buildings.

  • The lead photo (above) of the deteriorated Bridge above shows a wrap installed on several years ago that it was still on the structure at the time of the collapse.

  • Video produced by Local 4 covering the loss of the bridge and the clean up operation.
  • View the video (below) where Joseph S Kopietz Arte Express spokesman talks about the events leading up to bridge collapse.

  • A view below of close to half of the Bridge that was fourteen years old when this 1954 Packard (below) was photographed late in 1953.

15 responses to “Iconic Packard Plant Bridge Collapse Ruins Historic Landmark

  1. It’s sad that this has happened, but the plant has sat derelict for years with little effort to preserve or save it. There is only so much money and there are so many structures that are deserving of preservation.

    • Don’t be too sure…..maybe some Chinese car maker will bring out a new model….the 2021 Pakcard Clipper!! 🙂 🙂

  2. I was given a 1954 Packard many years ago, which I drove for several years as my main car. It was big heavy car with a straight 8 flat head motor. I did not feel it was a quality car, unlike the earlier Packard cars. It burned lots of gas and lots of oil. The car was falling apart. At that time it was a little over 20 years old. Sorry to see the Packard plant in such sad shape, but it might be best if it was torn down before anyone got hurt.

  3. It should be noted that the top picture does not fairly represent the condition of the bridge when it collapsed.

    According to an article on the Hemmings website, the bridge was covered in a “wrap” in 2015 to represent what the bridge could look like in good shape. The top picture shows the bridge with that wrap in place. The actual condition was much, much worsel.

  4. Very sad to see this happen. Again we loss another piece of Americana. My thoughts lean towards bureaucratic red tape and poor communications.

  5. Definitely a sad loss. I personally believe that the nearly broke city of Detroit should somehow scrape enough money together to totally demolish what remains of the old Packard plant and instead build a park there and call in Packard Park – of course.

  6. The local news broadcast is a hoot, as they get just about every detail about the collapse of the “over 100 year old pedestrian bridge” wrong. Given the deterioration of the bridge, “restoring” it likely would have entailed tearing down the existing structure and reconstructing it from scratch. So look at this as a “start.”

  7. Mr. Kopietz’s comments on the video re: attempts to restore the bridge and surrounding Packard property regrettably mirror the experience of millions of others trying to deal with an intransigent and entrenched city government, that is more interested in saving bureaucratic fiefdoms, than realizing the opportunity of growth and creativity his organization offers a desperate Detroit.

    No wonder it’s still on death watch as a city.

  8. Rex, I live in Grosse Pointe which is a stones throw from Detroit. With billions being invested in the last 10 years and the most competent and popular mayor in decades I would have to say that Detroit’s darkest days are behind it. Granted most of that money was invested downtown but it’s starting to migrate away from the center of the city. I disagree with your “death watch” remark. Get a clue.

  9. Gary,
    At the risk of moving into politics here, it’s easy to view Detroit from the safe sinecure of Grosse Pointe. But the situation on the ground in Detroit is exactly as the gentleman trying to restore the Packard property here says it is: Bureaucratic shuffling, endless regulations and little progress. All the mayors who led the City into this morass were also “popular” (and incompetent) – a prerequisite in Detroit, it seems, for failure.

    No one wants to see Detroit bounce back more than I (and perhaps “death watch” was overly dramatic), but the free market built Detroit, not government.

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